Datuk Nordin Siman, the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu, has announced that a photo of an apparently nude couple locked in an embrace while immersed in a fountain in Jalan Gaya, a site popular with tourists, will be fully investigated.
The Mayor told the press on January 9, Wednesday, “We are carrying out a full investigation into the incident. We have yet to verify it. We are trying to check whether the picture is genuine,” according to the Star.
He said he considered the incident to be a serious matter.
Bernama reported on January 9 that a netizen was concerned that the photo, which went viral on the messaging application WhatsApp “would tarnish Kota Kinabalu’s image as a tourist destination.”
The couple, widely believed to be tourists, are featured in a blurry photograph with both their faces away from the camera. Their clothes and other possessions are also seen nearby.
It is likely that the romantic tryst occurred late at night, as the shops around the area seem closed and nobody else is in sight, although when the exact date the picture was taken us still unknown.
Habibi Majinji, the city police chief Assistant Commissioner, says he is looking for leads into the matter. “We haven’t received a report yet, but we are trying to identify the source of the photo to get more information. You cannot even identify the people in the photo. We don’t know when, or if they are local or tourists. If we have more leads, we can investigate this further,” reported the Malay Mail.
Should the couple be identified and caught by authorities, they may be charged with public indecency.
An official from City Hall, who chose to remain anonymous, said that previous complaints centered around tourists or children who dipped their feet in the fountain. But this is the first time an incident such as this occurred.
“We’ve never had anyone gone in there topless before. Maybe we will have to put up signs to warn people against committing any indecent act or they can be arrested for criminal offenses,” he said.
City authorities have already put up signs telling people not to put their feet in fountains.
Tourists have caused the ire of some locals for their culturally insensitive behavior recently, with some dancing in front of the mosque in the city, while others have gone topless on Mount Kinabalu’s summit.
Locals have been requesting the authorities to mete out penalties for such behavior.